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Facebook News service launches in the UK

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
·2-min read

Facebook News, the social network’s new section dedicated to personalised news content, has launched in the UK.

Available for the first time outside the US, the feature will appear on the Facebook platform and allow users to see curated news stories from major national, local and lifestyle media outlets.

The project, for which Facebook is paying publishers for their content, will include input from the likes of Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group.

This will appear alongside content from previously announced publishers, which include The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, STV, local news from Archant, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midlands News Association, and Reach and lifestyle outlets such as GQ, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Vogue.

As well as highlighting the biggest stories of the day, Facebook says users will be able to personalise the stories they see, as well as choose topics and publishers they want to follow or hide those they are not interested in.

The launch comes as news publishers have struggled to generate advertising revenue during the internet age in the face of dominant tech giants.

In a blog post announcing the launch of the service in the UK, Jesper Doub, director of news partnerships in Europe for Facebook said: “The product is a multi-year investment that puts original journalism in front of new audiences as well as providing publishers with more advertising and subscription opportunities to build sustainable businesses for the future.

“This is the beginning of a series of international investments in news.

“Facebook News was built to bring people closer to the stories that impact their lives and the community around them.

“Our aim is to build on our efforts to sustain great national and local journalism and create more value for publishers.”

At the end of last year, the social network also announced it was extending its Community News Project for another year.

The scheme saw the firm pay £4.5 million to train reporters in 80 local newsrooms around the UK as part of a partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Another £2.25m has now been pledged to run the programme for a further year.

Responding to the launch, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Authoritative journalism is a cornerstone of democracy and the antidote to dangerous misinformation.

“We want to help the news industry adapt in the digital age, which is why we have cut VAT for online news subscriptions and accepted the CMA’s recommendation for a code of conduct between publishers and platforms.

“UK publishers are seeking a fair business relationship with online platforms so it’s good to see Facebook working to promote their output alongside recent Government action.”